Walgreens will open primary care physician offices in some of its Houston stores through a partnership with VillageMD, companies announced Wednesday.
"Patients are looking for primary care, and our system really needs better access to high quality primary care," said Dr. Patrick Carroll, Chief Medical Officer of Walgreens.
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Walgreens will reduce the retail space of the stores to make room for the offices. The company refused to say which products it would delete. The locations will include six to eight exam rooms, as well as a waiting area, said Carroll. The first concept sites, called "Village Medical at Walgreens", are expected to open by the end of the year.
"What Walgreens Medical Village is going to offer is very high quality primary care, which can both improve quality and reduce costs in convenient locations, while providing significant benefit from pharmacy support. to work on the respect of the rules. [to prescription drugs]Carroll said.
In recent years, Walgreens has signed a number of partnerships to offer more health services in its stores. It operates health centers for seniors with Humana, emergency care centers with UnitedHealth Group, dental clinics with Aspen Dental and diagnostic tests with LabCorp, among others.
Walgreens and CVS are both trying to find the best use of the stores, where sales of traditional pharmacy products such as sweets and greeting cards are struggling. Providing teeth straighteners, nutritionists and doctors are some of the experiments they are currently testing.
Last year, CVS launched the idea that the merged company could provide better care and improve people's health. CVS opened its new health-focused concept stores, called "HealthHUBs" in Houston earlier this year. They include services to help clients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
Carroll said it's a coincidence that both companies are testing new formats in Houston and that Walgreens has been monitoring the market for some time. He said Walgreens is exploring the possibility of extending the VillageMD test to other markets.
Correction: The clinics will be located in Walgreens pharmacies with separate entrances to the outside. The company initially stated that the clinics would be "close" to the pharmacy.